|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on October 17, 2012 at 11:35 AM||comments (0)|
Been so busy on the internet with marketing & promoting efforts I've really ignored posting anything here recently.
So...just a quick note to catch you up-to-date on what I've been doing and all that's happened over the past couple months.
TODAY an interview I did with Thomas Ryder went live. You can read it here:
(Sorry! I tried to shorten the link but no go. Just copy & paste all of it.)
I've sent my most recent novel, Second Time Around, to the publisher. We're doing final edits and cover design right now so I hope it will become available by the end of the year.
One of my stories, Sunday Dinner at Meme's, has been included in an anthology called Grandmother, Mother, and Me. I've been promised copies will be available for Christmas so some of you may be receiving this from me.
I write a blog about American cities that were important in our country's development for Venture Galleries. You can check those out at:
Of course I'm still posting twice a week on my personal blog: www.gayingram.blogspot.com.
Think that's about all the writing news for now.
|Posted by email@example.com on May 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM||comments (1)|
Today I'm taking a departure from my normal posts about the writing craft. So many changes happening in my writing career that I just have to stop and take a deep breath.
First on my to-do list is a complete overhaul of this website. All because I decided to take the plunge into publishing Ebooks. Yes, I know I've already had my first novel 'Til Death Do Us Part and Some Write Thoughts available for sale through Kindle, Nook, etc.
But I just got notification that my latest novel, Twist of Fate, is now up-and-running in the historical fiction page of Venture Galleries. This website offers promo & marketing services. Check out my first blog for Venture Galleries: http://bit.ly/IWiJTr
That's just the tip of the iceberg of changes happening around here. Thanks to the kindness of Evelyn Byrne of White Bird Press, I will also have four shorts available on Kindle in the near future. These will include: Beginning of Tomorrow, Revealed Treasure, The Basement's Secret and Why Mr. Manning!
These shorts are awaiting my click of the 'publish' button. Once I get this website revamped and up-and-running, look for announcements as to their availability. Then...I hope...you'll rush over to Kindle and download each one for an absorbing read.
|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on April 6, 2012 at 9:55 AM||comments (0)|
Story is something happening to someone you've been led to care about. But what exactly is meant by "something happening"? That's the basic explanation of plot.
A plot is a unified sequence of events so that whatever happens at the end is the result of related, believeable incidents.
Here are some things to look for that may create plotholes for your reader.
Expositionitis - giving the reader so much information that they either can guess the ending or they suffer from information-overload. The trick is to plant selective details and to time-release them gradually. Learn to choose what is vital and integrate only those necessary details into the story.
Lack of Credibility - Every piece of fiction should offer as much credibility as the genre demands. Use precise details that will convince your reader of the actuality of the setting. One or two details are all it takes to create a credible plot.
Events Unconnected With Motivation - Create a chronological narrative that strings together a series of events or incidents so each event is the inevidable result of the preceding one. Each successive achievement of goal should come by overcoming an obstacle. Each roadblock should strengthen the main charcter's resolve.
Miraculous Intervention - Avoid the use of circumstance to resolve your character's problem. Anton Chekhov supposedly said never introduce a gun if you don't intend to use it. In the same token, make sure the gun's been introduced if you plan to use it - don't have it conveniently appear when needed.
Authors should always keep in mind the need to plant vital information in the course of the story to make the ending logical and satisfying.
|Posted by email@example.com on March 30, 2012 at 2:00 PM||comments (0)|
In writing as well as in life, actions speak louder than words. By interspersing your dialog with movements, you can help set the tone in your fiction, aid in character development, and add a touch of reality.
Here are six effective ways of using action to enhance your fiction.
Develop characters - long paragraphs of character description are no long acceptable. You can weave in character description by using motions. "She brushed her fingers through cropped black hair" or "Don Wooten nodded and carefully aimed a stream of tobacco juice away from the group."
Avoid the saids - Eliminate whenever possible the he said/ she said. Use the name of the character in connection with some action before or after he/she speaks.
Add sensory details - Instead of a weather report, write about your character squinching because of a glaring sun and wiping perspiration from her forehead.
Create tension - terse action verbs will escalate the tension. Jerked instead of removed away; twisted the key rather than turned it; hissed the words instead of spoke them.
Reveal a character's feelings - Use body language to relay an emotion. "He shifted his weight from one foot to the other, but didn't respond."
Convey facts - "His eyes lit up at the mention of Janie." or "Maureen flushed under John's intense look."
Look at every scene as if you were a movie director. What do you want each actor doing that will enhance his words? Each activity conveys a different message.
With a few simple motions, your words create vivid scenes, develop characters, and advance the plot.
|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on March 24, 2012 at 12:55 AM||comments (0)|
Good writers continue to learn from reading good writing. We learn by reading closely and reading as writers. As we read, we pay close attention to the way others employ the elements of fiction: setting, plot, character development, theme, and so on.
Check your library's shelves or favorite bookstore for books that also include commentaries by writers and critics. My personal bookshelf includes Dare to be a Great Writer by Leonard Bishop and Guide to Good Writing produced by The Writer's Digest among several selections I've discovered that contain valuable advice for writers.
Your self-study program can extend to books like Oakley Hall's How Fiction Works or Gary Provost's classic Make Your Words Work. Ursula K. LeGuin's Steering The Craft; Exercises and Discussions on Story Writing provides both craft lessons and exercises.
Ask your fellow writers for their suggestions. Also available through the internet are many blogs produced by accomplished writers that offer invaluable resources for learning writers.
The best writers are also avid readers...and they never stop learning.
|Posted by email@example.com on March 16, 2012 at 1:50 PM||comments (0)|
"Watch your tone, young lady!"
Yes, how you speak can often reveal your attitude. And for an author, tone--the writer's attitude toward his/her story and characters--is vitally important.
Before you begin writing, ask yourself: What tone do I want my story to have? Perhaps it is a cynical tone, a humorous one, or even a tragic tone. The answer will determine how you eventually present your characters.
Any story can be told in any tone. Janet Evonovich is considered a humorous writer yet writes about serious matters of life and death.
By the author's choice of wording, it is possible to maintain a consistent tone even though your characters experience different kinds of events and react accordingly.
A romantic tone will flow with emotion, allow the reader to experience those moments with description of the character's thoughts and feelings in the midst of the encounter.
Not sure how you want to write your next story? Play around with the following:
Comic tone: an absurd motive; exaggeration; wildly dissimilar elements combined
romantic tone: an emotional motive; sensory details; metaphors or other heightened language
factual tone: a plausible and ordinary tone; everyday dialog; mundane details
cynical tone: a sarcastic motive; gritty details; weary emotions.
How you word your story will affect how the reader will receive it.
|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on March 11, 2012 at 12:35 AM||comments (0)|
Writing a memoir is not about a whole life; that's an autobiography. It's but a portion of a life. Don't try to tell too much in too few pages.
If you yearn to write a memoir, you will want to draw your material from experiences you have lived. Literally, you will be writing what you know. This is your recollection; any other person involved in the events will have different recollections.
You desire to create order out of the chaos of everyday life and extract meaning from both the tragic and the mundane moments.
Your objective is to carve meaning out of the raw material life has given you. Select your details carefully. Create characters that are complex and colorful. Avoid cliches.
You're telling this particular story to reassure yourself that humanity, though flawed, is essentially good. Some people write a memoir as a way to heal.
Reach for fresh, original language. Feel compassion for your characters and they'll become more authentic. Dramatize events rather than just summarizing.
Develop scenes; don't rush through them. Illustrate, rather than editorializing or preaching.
Paying attention to the above suggestions will bring to life those moments you want to share with your future readers.
Show your readers unexpected moments of grace. Be willing to relive events with honesty and courage and humility.
This is what separates great story-telling from uninspiring prose.
|Posted by email@example.com on March 2, 2012 at 11:15 AM||comments (0)|
Author Nevada Barr has penned an acclaimed and popular mystery series that feature her national park ranger heroine, Anna Pidgeon. In a recent interview for The Writer magazine, Nevada shares her techniques and recommends habits that led to her success. Something I found worth sharing.
Because of her own experience as a park ranger, Nevada often uses a national park as a character in the story. This necessitates a visit to the featured park where, in her words, "I walk, crawl, and lie about. Talk to everybody; sniff every flower, chase every squirrel." By personally absorbing the essence of the place, she then can transmit those distinctive features into her place's character.
She personally attempts all the physical feats her character Anna experiences in the story. (Believe me, she has written about some life-defying experiences)
She also interviews those who have experienced worst-case senarios of events she intends to incorporate in her story. Their recounting of experience blends with her imagination and work together to create the realism she achieves in her writing.
"I try to absorb what everything feels, tastes, smells like; what it does to me emotionally and physically."
Set a deadline
stick to a schedule
"the more you write, the better you get." Good advice from one of the best in the industry.
|Posted by firstname.lastname@example.org on February 24, 2012 at 3:40 PM||comments (1)|
Nothing as quickly defines a person as the words they choose to use. Diction, or overall word choice, is a partly-natural, partly-conscious effort for most people.
Members of a society draw on a common lexicon. In this shared vocabulary are thousands of workaday words, along with the most popular words from much-heard dictions such as teenagers, corporate, religious, and rural.
"A pleasure to meet you," is the dressed-up diction for an employee.
"Yo, wa's up?" identifies da boyz in the hood.
Right or wrong diction has to do only with purpose.
For writers, diction is always purposeful. It proclaims the narrator's intended personality and point of view; shades everything that is spoken. Each character reveals nuances of personality with distinctive word choices.
Diction also ranges along spectrums of formal/informal, concrete/abstract and assertive/timid, to name a few.
Diction gives rise to tone and greatly affects the overall style. Its personality comes from phrases, usages, and grammatical choices as well as single words.
Diction can also be built on cliches, circulocutions and mannerrisms but most telling are the words themselves.
Authors must decide which will yield the desired effect. How will the characters' word choices reveal them?
Choose diction that is appropriate to the topic and audience. Make the diction authentic or authentic-sounding. Choose diction that can deliver intended meanings--a common pitfall is inconsistency.
When you've gotten the diction right, you can look at your story and say, "That's the only way it could have been spoken."
|Posted by email@example.com on February 17, 2012 at 11:00 AM||comments (1)|
Are you tired of getting that 'word of wisdom' from experts? "What if," you reply, "my life's history consists of barely enough drama to fill a teacup?"
Try this: Tweak that old bone of a rule and write what can be learned. Learn what you need to know to write about it by spending some time researching the topic you're interested in writing about. A writing friend did just that and recently garnered a contract for her Young Adult novel.
So what experiences would you like your novel's characters to live through even though you personally can't say 'been there-done that'? Maybe it's time to step away from the keyboard and do something I call research-experiencing.
Does one of your characters get arrested and end up spending the night in jail? You can try to find a friend of a friend who might have undergone that humiliating experience and be willing to talk about it. But what better way to pin down the feelings of guilt and abandonment than to arrange with your local sheriff to occupy a cell for a few hours. There's something about the clanging of a metal door slamming shut that can't be forgotten.
Need to describe a hot-air balloon ride? Remember, the best source of the details and emotional reactions is to take a ride yourself. Nothing can replace the feelings evoked as you soar above the treetops yourself. Now that's what I call exciting research.
Experiencing something yourself allows your mind to crack wide open and consider possibilities not considered before. Going through the same motions as you want your character to do gives you the ability to write with authority.
Research-experiences give you, the author, the chance to walk in your character's shoes. And being able to write about something from personal experience means you can now "write what you know."